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international programs

Perth/Fremantle, Australia

program description


The City

Situated on the banks of the Swan River, bounded by the white sand and surf beaches of the Indian Ocean, Perth, the capital of Western Australia, has a population of over 1.6 million and is the fastest growing city in Australia.  A beautiful Mediterranean climate, and proximity to many spectacular natural resources make Perth the perfect location for outdoor activities, as well as exploring Aboriginal culture – one of the oldest cultures in the world.

The urban area of Perth encompasses the port city of Fremantle, with coffee shops and cafes in an historic atmosphere, showcasing famous Victorian and Edwardian architecture.  Rottnest Island, a short ferry trip from Fremantle, provides outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities. 

The Universities

University of Western Australia

Located only 3 miles from Perth’s main business district and 30 minutes from the port city of Fremantle, the beautiful University of Western Australia (UWA) is a friendly, multicultural campus of about 21,000 students, including 4,400 international students.  As one of the prestigious Australian Group of Eight schools, the university has an international reputation for teaching and research excellence and is considered to be among the top-ranked universities worldwide. UWA has a broad range of course offerings spanning all disciplines and is especially strong in the Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Environmental Studies, Business, Economics, Social Sciences, and Education.

The University of Notre Dame Australia

Established in 1990 and located in the heart of Fremantle, Notre Dame is a private Catholic university founded in collaboration with Notre Dame University (USA). Notre Dame is a “town university” with a relatively small student body (5,000) which makes this institution particularly inviting for BC students. Notre Dame’s teaching faculty have a reputation for their significant industry experience, and the low student to staff ration ensures that this expertise is readily accessible to all students.  Subjects are offered in a range of disciplines with unique Australian field trip opportunities designed for study abroad students.

The Programs

University of Western Australia (UWA)

Students take four courses per semester and select from a wide selection of subjects across departments. Instruction is based on the British academic system combining lectures, which may be large, and small, weekly discussion groups or “tutorials.” While not mandatory, students are encouraged to sign up for tutorials. There are few exams during the semester and grades are based primarily upon end of the semester or year assessment. Students are fully integrated with their Aussie counterparts in all aspects of university life.  UWA offers many on-campus services including dining facilities, banks, post office, bookstore, and recreational facilities.

University of Notre Dame (UNDA)

Students at Notre Dame enroll in a range of courses from various programs of study at UNDA and take 5 classes alongside their Australian counterparts for full integration into the Australian educational system.  These include Aboriginal studies, Australian history, business, behavioral science, communications, education, environmental sciences, history, literature, philosophy, politics, psychology, theology.  A special course in Australian History and Society has been designed especially for US students and includes a field trip to the Kimberley region of northwestern Australia where students visit an Aboriginal community and experience their way of life.  Students gain a unique understanding of Aboriginal culture from an historical perspective and examine current issues of the Australian Aboriginal community.  A field trip to Southeast Asia is also offered to business students as part of the Business in Asia (Semester 2) course.

Orientation/Academic support

University of Western Australia

The Study Abroad Office at UWA provides a mandatory orientation for new Study Abroad and Exchange students prior to the beginning of the semester. The program includes instruction about completing course registration, email accounts, and a variety of other topics to help students become familiar with their new surroundings. Students will also have an opportunity to sign up for optional excursions around the local area. Each student is assigned an academic advisor, but Student Services also provide counseling services, an on-campus health service, learning and research skills support, a career center, and housing assistance.

Notre Dame Australia

BC students participate in a week-long comprehensive university-sponsored orientation program. The International offices provide personal and academic counseling.


University of Western Australia

The university offers a variety of housing options including a choice of five Residential Colleges located adjacent to the campus. St. Thomas More is the Catholic Residential College with ties to Boston College. Colleges generally provide three meals daily in a communal dining hall, excellent facilities, and many social activities.  Entrance to a College is highly competitive and requires a separate application. The Housing Office provides support to students looking for off-campus accommodations including an on-line database of vacant and shared accommodation, and general advising. Students are permitted to use the database as soon as they are admitted to the university.

Notre Dame Australia

Students at Notre Dame Australia live in university housing nearby or on campus.  Student residence buildings include recently renovated hotels in which students have a single or shared furnished bedroom/study and access to a small computer laboratory and lounge area.  Kitchen and dining facilities are available for students to do their own cooking and meal preparation.  Notre Dame also has a housing officer to assist with off-campus housing options.


University of Western Australia

The university has a wide variety of clubs, societies, and activities. Study Abroad and Exchange students are strongly encouraged and warmly welcome to join them.  The university sponsors events, and the clubs also organize activities through the semester.

Notre Dame Australia

NDA provides a unique opportunity for an encounter/immersion experience with an Aboriginal community in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia.  Business and arts students can take an optional field trip to South East Asia in Semester 2.  Many environmental courses offer field trips to remote locations including the south coast of Western Australia, the southwestern forests, Rottnest Island and the central and northwestern coastal areas of the state.  Other social activities are arranged by the Student Life office, which includes study abroad students in all activities.  A student mentors program is also available.

Service opportunities

At UWA, volunteer opportunities are maintained and listed by the Student Guild. Volunteering is an excellent way to become involved and to get to know something about the local community. International students are allowed to work or volunteer under the terms of the student visa; however, there is a small fee added to the cost of a student visa for the privilege.

Notre Dame encourages students to participate in community service activities and offers a range of placements in the local area through its volunteer program.